There are both good and bad to the class, but as it's Prof. Shalem's first year teaching I think it will be a year or two before the kinks in the course are fully ironed out. Prof. Shalem is nice enough as a teacher, and the course is okay. You should take this course if you're interested in doing a non-Western elective as an Art History major because the workload isn't bad. However, I don't recommend this course for non-Art History majors who are looking to fulfill a core requirement. There are far more engaging courses than this one for someone who wants to take an 'insteresting elective,' and your grades will just suffer because you're going to be competing against art history majors who have experience in memorizing and regurgitating slides and writing art history papers. All in all, this course is very meh. I wouldn't say it's bad, but it's sort of not very well organized and also not overwhelmingly exciting.
Lectures generally involve him going over around 50 slides (a pretty reasonable number) that are loosely focused on a specific time period or theme.
However, because he seems to have this aversion to making very concrete arguments as a result of what I imagine is his background in critical theory, he ends up either talking a lot about historical developments around the time which are often inconsequential to the pieces at hand, or talking about the pieces/buildings in extremely general ways. Things that you could have come up with if you just sat in your room with a friend and asked them to describe the picture they're looking at. He also has a tendency to talk about aspects of buildings/objects that he does not have images for, so you're just left with pieces of random trivia that don't really mean anything.
Someone is also going to call me a racist for this, but I believe what I'm about to say is an objective observation that I know more than 5 people in the class have agreed on: A lot of the stuff that he shows looks very, very similar. And he really seldom goes into a lot of detail about what differentiates those works from others and the significance of why certain pieces are being shown. As a result, you often walk away from class a little confused because you seem to just have been shown 30 bowls that look the same or 7 mosques that to an average person look identical. His aversion to making strong arguments makes this all the more confusing because you are probably not even going to be left with an idea to tie these together.
Shalem definitely also has an issue with time management. He regularly spent way too much time in lectures giving general, objective descriptions of a few works before realizing that he had run out of time to discuss the meat of what he was supposed to show us. As a result, he would often spend the last 10 minutes of class fast forwarding through upwards of 20 slides (I really am not making this up). However, towards the end of the semester, he would just consistently continue to lecture overtime for 10-15 minutes, which I didn't mind but I could tell it was troublesome for some other people who had classes or activities afterwards.
I really didn't have a bad time in this class, and I expect to get a straight A in this course, but it just was not terribly interesting or well presented because too many things looked the same. Or maybe they actually were very different but we were not told why they were different? I don't know, I guess I felt overall that if I had taken another class, I might have been able to walk away with more to show for it, instead of it having been an exercise in image recognition. Shalem is a pleasant guy, but I really feel like this course needs to be restructured a little.